“The Cloud” is the generic term given to the modern marvel of online data storage. The cloud name evokes ideas of storing your data in the endless sky above our heads – it follows us around wherever we go, and we can call on it whenever we need it.

Cloud storage is quickly becoming a viable alternative to traditional hardware storage. Many have now chosen to abandon storing files and media locally altogether, instead relying entirely on one of the various cloud storage providers to look after their data. There are both advantages and disadvantages to the adoption of cloud storage solutions, and we’ll be examining some of them today.

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Advantage – Usability

The first and most apparent advantage of cloud storage is that it allows you access to your data from anywhere in the world, providing there is an internet connection. No longer are you tied to your computer, and you don’t have to worry about keeping track of a memory stick – as long as you remember your username and password, you can access your stuff.

Great lengths have also been gone to to make the cloud storage even more convenient. In one way, the cloud is the best intermediary between devices we’ve ever seen. Transporting something from one make of phone to another, or from a Mac to a PC, used to be annoying. Now software like dropbox allow seamless transferals. There are also entire cloud based software programmes that allow several people, on a variety of devices, to use it at the same time, such as this software.  This is ideal for organisational software for use in offices, to name just one example.

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Disadvantage – Internet Reliance

The problem with this convenience is that it relies entirely on the internet. If that line is cut, there is no way to access your data. In day to day life, this is more of an annoyance than a problem.

If you desperately need the file but are without internet, that could be a big headache, but usually you’ll just have to go and seek out another internet connection. In today’s world of free Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile networks, that’s not difficult. Or at least, in the modern world it isn’t. If you are in rural or less well developed parts of the world, finding a reliable internet connection can be a real problem.

 

Advantage – Practicality

Nobody likes lugging around big pieces of hardware. Laptops can be quite cumbersome devices, and desktop computers are usually impractical to move full stop. Plus, as they are a tangible product, they cost a lot of money, as do additional hard drives and memory sticks.

The cost of cloud storage, at least on anything other than a big corporate scale, is remarkably low. Without the need for any real world product, the price in comparison to hard memory is markedly cheaper. You could stand to save a lot of money by switching, and you also gain the advantage of not having to carry around tech. That’s win win!

 

Disadvantage – Security

You may think that security is one of the clouds best features. You can’t lose your cloud data on the train, for example. But when you have your own memory hardware, you are to come extend in charge of its destiny. You could take a memory stick containing all of your important files, and lock it away in a safe. You have no sway, however, over the security of your online files.

Obviously, the companies that provide the services go to huge lengths to protect your data, both physically and digitally (from hackers), but there is still the chance for failure. Your cloud is perhaps less susceptible to damage than your hardware, but the fact is you are entrusting it’s security entirely to strangers.

Also, if someone wants to access your personal files on your home computer, they will likely have to break into your house, or deploy very good hacking techniques. With cloud storage, all they would need is your username and password, which to people in the know, can be sourced more easily. Plus, if you accidentally leave yourself logged in, anyone can come up and take your personal files.

So as you can see, the cloud is a double edged sword. The best course of action is to use both traditional memory storage, and cloud storage. That way, you are covering a lot more eventualities, for greater peace of mind.